The Use of Foundational Ontologies in Ontology Development: An Empirical Assessment.
C. Keet. 8th Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC'11), volume 6643 of LNCS, page 321-335. Springer, (2011)Heraklion, Crete, Greece, 29 May-2 June, 2011.
There is an assumption that ontology developers will use a top-down
approach by using a foundational ontology, because it purportedly
speeds up ontology development and improves quality and interoperability
of the domain ontology. Informal assessment of these assumptions
reveals ambiguous results that are not only open to different interpretations
but also such that foundational ontology usage is not foreseen in
most methodologies. Therefore, we investigated these assumptions
in a controlled experiment. After a lecture about DOLCE, BFO, and
part-whole relations, one-third chose to start domain ontology development
with an OWLized foundational ontology. On average, those who commenced
with a foundational ontology added more new classes and class axioms,
and significantly less object properties than those who started from
scratch. No ontology contained errors regarding part-of vs. is-a.
The comprehensive results show that the `cost' incurred spending time
getting acquainted with a foundational ontology compared to starting
from scratch was more than made up for in size, understandability,
and interoperability already within the limited time frame of the